I think the federal government can play a strong role and provide quite a bit of leadership in this area.
The first issue is that I agree that the electricity system is heavily decarbonized. However, as I wrote in my briefing note, if we really want to tackle transportation, electrification is a really big piece of that. I agree with the Honourable Dan McTeague that we need to consider affordability. That's why we need to consider things like public transportation that's electrified and electric bicycles, which I like to ride, as options, and make those affordable and available to everybody, but also safe and convenient. In order to electrify all of these things, we really need to expand the electricity system.
I'll give an example. The average car at peak load is about four times the average household peak load in Toronto. If you have the adoption of electric vehicles in cities, all of a sudden you have a lot of peak load on the system that you need to manage temporally, but also you're going to need more transmission. Broadly speaking, we need to expand the electricity system. There is modelling that was done several years ago, and there has been major technological development since then, that shows that, based on the technology then, it was entirely possible to have a 100% renewable energy system in Canada.
What role can the federal government play?
There are a few things. One is that the federal government can provide economic supports. There is a range of different types of economic instruments that can be provided. When those dovetail into each other, as we saw in Vietnam, there is basically exponential growth of renewables. The federal government can provide that.
The federal government can also work with provinces on provincial interties, because some provinces will have access to more renewable resources than others. The federal government also, if it's setting up a carbon pricing system, can bring some funds towards that.
The other thing is that, yes, electricity and energy are provincial matters. However, there's no reason the federal government can't provide carrots by removing some of the sticks that are in the regulatory system, which are limiting our ability to have a resilient electricity system in different places. By resilient, I mean ready to deal with the impacts of climate change. We're already seeing the impacts of storms. We're already seeing the impacts of massive heat waves, and all of these are affecting the reliability of electricity around the country.
The federal government is already working directly with remote communities, which is really important, but they can also be a really important area for deployment and innovation, and for technological testing to see how communities work.
Finally, the federal government can provide a lot of knowledge, training and skills, which is a really big piece of what we need in order to make this transition happen. By that I mean re-skilling. Also, the energy sector is the least diverse sector globally and in Canada. We need to have training of diverse communities and diverse groups in order to have new jobs in this area.
Additionally, the federal government can provide administrative supports. Those are really critical to the rollout of any of these things. For example, I read recently that the energy retrofit program, which is rightly focusing on deep energy retrofits, is far behind administratively in terms of the number of audits that are going through. There have been studies on the better buildings program that was done in the U.S. several years ago. Administrative supports in terms of tracking, in terms of workforce and in terms of rollout are also really critical. There are quite a few areas where the federal government can support this.
One more part is that the federal government can also support research and innovation in terms of the types of technologies that we'd like to be developing, particularly in cities.